When Your Guard Is Down The Brazen Criminals Strike

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An old crime is making a new comeback.

Surveillance video from a recent carjacking shows a driver pulling up at a gas station. When the car owner goes to pay for his gas a carjacker jumps into the front seat and tries to drive off.

“It hasn’t been a little resurgence. It’s been a pretty big resurgence,” Paul Fishman, U.S. Attorney for Essex County, told CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois.

It happened to Michael Tewfick at a station on Staten Island.

“The next thing you know my brother is like, ‘somebody jumped in your car,”” Tewfick told CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois, “He peels out, goes up the one way and then just starts flying.”

The carjackers aren’t just targeting gas stations. The old crime has taken on a lot of new dimensions.

“We’ve seen a lot of people getting car jacked in their driveways, in parking lots, pulled over on the side of the road while they’re using cell phones,” Fishman said, “Somebody gets bumped from behind, they get out to see about the damage and the thieves pull out a gun and take the car.”

Wayne Brooks overheard his neighbor getting carjacked at 5:30 in the morning.

“His wife was screaming outside my window,” Brooks said, “He got very hurt. Lacerations, chest injuries.”

Carjackings have been on the rise because new technology has made them virtually impossible to hot wire. There is also a growing market for nice cars.

“Cars that are in new condition, that are luxury cars, they can fetch a pretty good price overseas,” Fishman said.

As many as 10 percent of carjacked vehicles wind up in ports like the one in Elizabeth, N.J., where carjackers hide them in containers and ship them overseas for sale.

“They’re telling me if you don’t find your car within the next two or three days it’s probably in a container and gone,” Tewfick said.

Police found Tewfick’s car by tracking it through his iPhone.

The NYPD has stepped up its efforts to combat the rising rates of carjackings. In New Jersey, an Anti-Carjacking Task Force has been set up.

“You shouldn’t have to worry that if you get in your car somebody is going to put a gun to your head and take that car away from you. So we’re doing everything that we can,” Fishman said.

The Anti-Carjacking Task Force has posted a series of billboards in Newark warning residents to be on alert.

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